"Untitled": A Look at Mental Health and Art

Quite recently I made an update to my art gallery, a place where I talk about art that I think should be of note. About a month ago (20th of February 2019) I added a new painting by a Mr. Craig Finn, a man who in 2005 was suffering from schizophrenia (if he is still suffering from it is unknown), a mental disorder that is characterized by abnormal behaviour, queer speech, and failing to fully comprehend reality. Along with this, people who suffer from this may also have symptoms such as false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices that do not exist, reduced social engagement, and emotional expression, and lack of motivation.

Click to see the full-res image

People with schizophrenia often have additional mental health problems such as anxiety, depressive or substance-use disorders. Symptoms typically come on gradually, beginning in young adulthood, and in many cases never resolve.

Of course, if you do not have schizophrenia (or a schizophrenia-like disorder), then you might find it hard to fully understand what it is like to see the world as if you had the condition. It is then quite interesting look, and see some artwork by a person who does not see as we do.

While looking at this painting, I think it would be natural to be a little disconcerted, especially at the way that the author has depicted himself. He has made himself to be an almost Frankenstein's monster of a man, with wires plugged into himself, and purple skin. Wherever he is standing, it does not seem to be a safe or a friendly place.

I would like to break the flow of my comments in order to bring this up; this is the second self-portrait to be used in my gallery, the first one being 1760's Self-portrait by David Martin (as seen on the right). As compared to the work by Craig Finn, it is quite interesting to note, not the ability of Finn, but the way he portrayed himself compared to Martin.

Note how Martin painted himself in an almost soft manner, with a smooth chin, luscious ginger hair, he is also dressed in a fine way, with an open shirt, suggesting the calmness of the situation that he is currently in.

Now compare this to Finn's work, unlike Martin he is not soft, no, he is quite lumpy in places, make note of his chin, see how it is not smooth. Finn does not romanticise himself (think of how Martin gave himself lovely ginger hair), but he has shown himself to be, dare I say, almost weak.

He does seem to be quite calm, or even perhaps subdue, he is naked after all.

The setting that both of the men appear in also seem to heavily differ; Martin is in clean place, while Finn is in a very noisy place, full of disordered items that almost seem like that should not be there; there is the pi symbol (π), a clock, and a language which appears to be fictional on the top right, for instance.

It can be quite depressing to think about the life of a person with schizophrenia, verses the life of a well-to-do-man. Will Craig Finn's life turn around, and be great? Only time can tell for sure.

Thank you too fellow Neocities' user, emily, who helped me correct some grammar issues, along with reviewing an early draft of the work. Thank you very much emily, it is very much appreciated. Please go on her website, it's very good.

Re: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophrenia

Written by Clive "James" Python, 2019-03-27.